Frantisek Vobecky: Photomontages Within the Context of Czech Avant-Garde

January 8 — February 26, 2000

Ubu Gallery exhibited the Surrealist-influenced photomontages of Frantisek Vobecky (1902–1991) made between 1935 and 1938 within the context of Czech avant-garde works on paper, books and ephemera of the period. Vobecky originally took up photography as a means of documenting his paintings. Soon he started photographing found objects and details of rocks and sculptures. From there he moved to simple still lifes of ordinary household or everyday objects and subsequently, in 1935, began his exploration of photomontage. The influence of Surrealism in Czechoslovakia was pervasive during the 1930s, and it gradually replaced Functionalism and Constructivism as the principal ideology of the avant-garde. Surrealism dominated the “International Exhibition of Photography” organized by S.V.U. Mánes (Mánes Union of Fine Arts) in Prague in 1936. Certain series of photographic assemblages produced by Vobecky between 1935 and 1938 (shown at Ubu Gallery) were included in this important exhibition, the largest presentation of its kind in the 1930s. The 1936 exhibition led to the founding of the Photographic Section of S.V.U. Mánes, an official endorsement of photography by the most prominent artistic organization in Czechoslovakia.

PRESS
The New York Times / Art in Review / February 11, 2000 / Grace Glueck
Dodatek Literacko-Spoleczny / Czeski Surrealista / January 21, 2000
The Art Newspaper / Photography in New York / No. 100 / February 2000
NYArts / “Surrealism Today” / February 2000 / Valery Oisteanu / 1 reproduction
The New Criterion / Art: Gallery Chronicle / April 2000 / Daniel Kunitz
Journal of the Print World / “Franisek Vobecky” / Winter 2000
The New Yorker / Galleries-Uptown / 1 reproduction

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